Tokyo Olympics: Ravi Kumar, Deepak Punia make semis


India’s Ravi Dahiya began his Olympics campaign with two technical superiority victories to reach the men’s freestyle 57kg semifinals with ease on Wednesday. Second seed Deepak Punia also notched contrasting wins in his opening two matches in the men’s 86kg category to join Ravi in the semis.

In the women’s section, 19-year-old Anshu Malik lost her opening match 2-8 in the women’s 57kg category to European champion Iryna Kurachkina.

The fourth-seeded Ravi consistently attacked the right leg of Colombia’s Oscar Urbano as he remained dominant, apart from conceding a take-down in the first period in his first bout.

Ravi, the reigning Asian champion and Worlds bronze medalist, nailed the win with one minute and 10 seconds still remaining in the bout, which was stopped after he raced to a winning 13-2 lead.

The Indian effected five take-down moves in the second period, showing his technical prowess.

He then defeated Bulgaria’s Georgi Vangelov too by technical superiority in their quarterfinal bout.

Deepak made the most of an easy draw by getting past Nigeria’s Ekerekeme Agiomor, the African championship bronze medalist in his opening bout. The Nigerian was agile but Deepak was technically sound and won comfortably.

He then defated China’s Lin Zushen in a very tightly-contested quarterfinal to add an Olympics semis appearance to his silver medal at the last World Championships.

Asian champion Anshu made a strong comeback after conceding a 0-4 lead against the Belarusian with two push out points. She also managed to get hold of Kurachkina’s right leg but could not complete the move.

On the counter attack, Anshu conceded another two-pointer but kept fighting. The European relied on her experience to prevail.

Anshu’s chances to come back in the competition will depend on Kurachkina’s progress. If the Belarusian makes the final, Anshu will enter the repechage round.

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